Efforts to combat malaria undermined due to decline in financing

The incidence of global malaria between 2000 and 2015 declined by 41 percent and the death rate from malaria fell by 62 percent, according to the World Health Organization.
By Amy Wallace  |  July 14, 2017 at 1:06 PM
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July 14 (UPI) -- A new study by the University of California, San Francisco Global Health Group found funding for global malaria elimination is declining.

Research shows a decline in external funding occurred in 2010 even though government funding for malaria elimination has been increasing since 2000. The difference in government and external funding is creating a gap in funding that could increase the risk of resurgences of malaria worldwide.

"Our findings demonstrate growing uncertainty about the future availability of donor funding for malaria," Rima Shretta of the Global Health Group at UCSF, said in a press release. "The study highlights the need for sustainable financing solutions that bridge the gap between the amount of funding a government can provide based on its economy and the amount donated by external partners, which declines as the country moves closer to becoming malaria-free."

The World Health Organization reports the incidence of global malaria between 2000 and 2015 declined by 41 percent and the death rate from malaria fell by 62 percent.

The study, published July 14 in the Malaria Journal, tracked the Development Assistance for Health, or DAH, donor funding, and Government Health Expenditure, or GHE, government funding for 35 malaria eliminating countries from 1990 to 2013. The study included projections through 2017.

"Our study details the interventions on which funding was spent," Shretta said. "We found that there was high growth in donor funding spend on vector control interventions -- particularly on insecticide-treated nets -- peaking in 2010. In some countries, such as Bhutan, 80 percent of total malaria donor funding was spent on vector control.

"By contrast, expenditure on surveillance, a key malaria elimination intervention and a pillar of the World Health Organization Global Technical Strategy, decreased between 2010 and 2012. Overall, less than 10 percent of malaria donor funding is spent on surveillance in the eliminating countries included in this study. Donors will need to assess whether a shift towards more support for operational improvements, surveillance, and program management will be required to support elimination goals."

DAH funding increased from over $5 million to $176 million between 2000 and 2010, but overall funding fell to $62 million in 2013. Donor funding is expected to continue to decline as donors re-allocate funds to other health issues and high-burden countries.

Researchers urge more targeted funding to ensure resources are being funded.

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